Press Release Photo by THL.
Based on a study conducted among pupils in grade 9 of basic education, maintaining a sober lifestyle continues to be common among young people: 31 per cent use hardly any alcohol and even fewer smoke.
There has also been a drop in snuff use, which soared among boys in recent years – although girls use snuff more frequently than before. Young people also gamble on slot machines less frequently than previously, said a press release issued by Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) quoting the study.
An exception to the long-term positive development is the increase in experimenting with cannabis, particularly among boys.
This information was revealed by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). The study has been conducted every fourth year since 1995 in 23–39 European countries.
Pupils turning 16 during the year of study participated the survey. In Finland, the participants are on grade 9 in basic education.
The share of pupils abstaining from alcohol use has increased from some 10 per cent in 1995 to 31 per cent in 2019.
Binge drinking has continued declining among boys, but this drop seems to have halted among girls.
At the turn of the century, around half of the young people had drunk at least six portions of alcohol at once during the previous 30 days. In 2019, only 22 per cent of young people did this. The differences in binge drinking between boys and girls are minor.
Young people also more often consider that drinking heavily on a single occasion as well as small portions at a regular rate involves major risks.
In recent years, there has been an increase in pupils in grade 9 who have experimented with and used cannabis. In 2019, 13 per cent of boys and 9 per cent of girls had experimented with cannabis at some point during their lives; in 2015, the corresponding rates were 10 and 7 per cent.
An increasing number of young people also believe that only few or no risks are related to using cannabis, and more of them believe that it is easy to obtain cannabis.
“The frequently presented view that an increase in cannabis use could be caused by a reduction in alcohol consumption does not appear to hold true, at least among under-aged people”, said Senior Researcher Kirsimarja Raitasalo of the THL.